So the proposal to declassify that super secret FISA abuse memo has passed to the desk of the President. Whether or not he will approve it remains to be seen, though I’d be shocked if it happened before the State of the Union address. (He’s got five days, though, so there’s no rush.) This has led to some anger and resentment among many people, most of whom seem to be Democrats. Chief among these is Adam Schiff (D – CA29), who has been lambasting the idea of disclosure for some time now. But what’s his real reason for being upset? Is it some concern over national security issues or something more… personal? CNS News has part of his answer to the question.
When asked about why he opposes releasing an intelligence memo that discusses persons and facts relative to the investigation of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said it was because Americans would not be able to “see how distorted and misleading the document is.”
The memo is just Republican “spin” and a “fulsome attack on the FBI,” claimed Schiff, who added that the public needs the “underlying materials” to understand the full story.
To get the full impact of how Schiff appears to be trying to “spin the spin” on this one, you need to hear him describe it in person. Here’s a CNN clip of him addressing the same question with barely disguised anger.
So, at least according to Schiff, the contents of the memo are based on a number of other, underlying documents which are heavily classified and can’t be released. The memo itself, from Schiff’s California colleague Devin Nunes (R – CA22), is allegedly more of a summary of conclusions drawn from those deeper source materials. But this memo may also be sensitive in nature if it lets the cat too far out of the bag in terms of how the conclusions were reached. So does Schiff have a point, if only inadvertently, in terms of national security concerns? Or is this just all about the spin game?
This seems easy enough to handle. If portions of the memo are deemed to be too sensitive and risk exposing intel or assets, then they can be redacted prior to release. Far more problematic are the conclusions the public might draw if this information actually does suggest that people in the FBI were involved in partisan hijinks and disruption of investigations to favor one party over the other.
We will have reached a sad state of affairs if the allegations being suggested are validated. As a nation, we’ve long since grown used to a state of divided, ideological partisanship in the legislative branch. It’s basically the foundation for the entire system at this point. Such partisanship in the executive branch is simply an extension of that battle. It’s actually far more of a tragedy that such partisan divides have completely infected the judicial branch. It’s a national scandal when we can predict how each of the justices on the Supreme Court will vote on the most divisive issues with nearly 100% accuracy.
But all of that pales in comparison to the damage we’ll expose if this same ideological partisanship has fully infected law enforcement. From the bottom to the top, the cops are supposed to be the referees in this game. Every American is owed an unbiased playing field when being looked over for potential lawlessness. That doesn’t mean that FBI agents can’t have their own political beliefs or support various candidates on their own time, but when that starts influencing their work we’ve reached a point where the bell can’t be unrung.
The American people can lose faith in their elected leaders from time to time and still hold on to hope for recovery after the next elections. It actually happens fairly frequently. (Have you seen the approval ratings for Congress lately?) The voters may even express some dissatisfaction with the judges who serve on the bench across the nation. But if our collective belief in law enforcement becomes too badly eroded, the entire nation is resting on quicksand instead of bedrock.
This doesn’t mean that I think we shouldn’t get to see the memo. At this point, hiding it would look even worse than releasing it. But if it’s as bad of a situation as some are making it out to be there will need to be a massive housecleaning at the FBI and steps taken to ensure that nobody has their thumb on the scales of justice.